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BlackRock or Credit Suisse?

GoIllini

Market Crises= Gray Hair
There isn't much detail about either job. With information available, I would tend to agree with GoIllini and choose BlackRock for the brand-name.

Furthermore I would stress out that it is useful for anyone to know Perl (or some flavor: PHP, Ruby, Python etc). It offers a clean and flexible language for quick coding. Pattern, matching, hash structures are easy, get results in 5 minutes.
I agree that it doesn't have a solid theoretical foundation, limited OOP, but many times you don't need complete software design. This is especially true if you are in trade support.
And for people that spend more time on it, Perl has significant depth. You can just thing about ~17,000 modules that can be plugged into any code.
Scripting languages are very useful, but my experience is that they're not really designed for enterprise systems and hence don't always handle the mission-critical production financial logic. This is highlighted by the lack of ability to precompile (except in Python) and the lack of standard production services/development features. (Remote debugging, configurable log support, infrastructure for pulling in configuration files, development environments beyond vi, AFAIK.) I did find a prop shop that wrote algorithmic trading scripts in Python and then handed it off to developers to convert into C++; this seems to be more of the exception than the rule, and they were very quick to characterize their work as algorithmic trading first and foremost; not scripting work.

Perl is a great language to learn and nearly every group will use it a little, but my (admittedly limited) experience has been that if a group says, "We work almost entirely with perl scripts" and they're not a web development group, they usually don't do a lot of financial development or work with the front office.

At the very least, the emphasis on a scripting language would be a red flag to me if BlackRock is like the bank I work at or the banks some of my friends work at. Since I already had the offer from Credit Suisse, I would be nicely asking BlackRock tough questions like, "So who actually computes the position-specific risk numbers? Do you guys just aggregate numbers from other systems or do you run models yourselves?" "What information comes into your team's system and what information do you guys produce?" "Is it fair to say that your system is just an accounting system? Or does it do more than allocate positiion-level risk to different books?" It would also be good to ask to speak with an existing analyst at both firms and maybe slip in one or two of the same questions.

Questions like these should help give Christian a better idea of what he will be doing at BlackRock. Given all the information I have right now, however, I believe there are better than even odds that the answers will paint the system as aggregating risk feeds and figuring out which book they go under- something that has applications only to a high-school level bookkeeping course.
 
@GoIllini: Thx for the long posts!

- BlackRock basically described it like this:
- The first couple of months I would act as a supporting role, i.e. learning the system while answering to requests from the business.
- The Financial Modeling group basically creates the Risk models which we have to implement. Sometimes people come to ask us about the interpretation of certain numbers. But they mentioned, that everything is usually defined somewhere in a document which was created by the FM group.
- They told me that it sometimes happens that you have to come in during the night because your Perl script broke. And since those reports have to go out each day, everything has to work all the time.

Does this help to make a better judgment about the job?
 

GoIllini

Market Crises= Gray Hair
@GoIllini: Thx for the long posts!

- BlackRock basically described it like this:
- The first couple of months I would act as a supporting role, i.e. learning the system while answering to requests from the business.
- The Financial Modeling group basically creates the Risk models which we have to implement. Sometimes people come to ask us about the interpretation of certain numbers. But they mentioned, that everything is usually defined somewhere in a document which was created by the FM group.
- They told me that it sometimes happens that you have to come in during the night because your Perl script broke. And since those reports have to go out each day, everything has to work all the time.

Does this help to make a better judgment about the job?
That's really interesting. This is ALL done in Perl? This sounds like more than just a risk accounting system.

Edit: I would also add that 2 AM pages aren't fun at all, especially if you're expected to show up to work at 9 AM the next day. If you decide this is the best offer (again, after asking your questions), make sure that if you spend 2 hours fixing an issue at 2 AM (particularly if it's not your fault), you get to sleep in two hours more.
 
@GoIllini: I sent you a PM with the job descripton.

They asked me some minor C++ questions as well so I assume they do a little bit of that as well. SQL too, but that's nothing special.
 
I also got offer from CS. My position is FO IT Analyst in credit derivatives group and I already accept the offer. Hope it is not so bad as someone mention here. Anyway, I believe it is a good start in finance as a CS background student.
 

GoIllini

Market Crises= Gray Hair
I also got offer from CS. My position is FO IT Analyst in credit derivatives group and I already accept the offer. Hope it is not so bad as someone mention here. Anyway, I believe it is a good start in finance as a CS background student.
Interesting. Did they say whether you'll be working with correlation products or more exotic derivatives or just the flow stuff?

For at least the past three or four years, correlation has tended to be a little more front-office than the flow derivatives, but that equilibrium might get completely upset in the next year or two with the move to a more liquid market in credit. It's possible for a developer to do better than Credit Suisse (there are some I-Banks that are stronger in fixed income and hedge funds generally treat developers even better), but it's a nice place for a financial programmer to land.
 
Interesting. Did they say whether you'll be working with correlation products or more exotic derivatives or just the flow stuff?

For at least the past three or four years, correlation has tended to be a little more front-office than the flow derivatives, but that equilibrium might get completely upset in the next year or two with the move to a more liquid market in credit. It's possible for a developer to do better than Credit Suisse (there are some I-Banks that are stronger in fixed income and hedge funds generally treat developers even better), but it's a nice place for a financial programmer to land.


Honestly speaking, I don't know what the correlation and flow is since I am not majored in Finance:) Could you give more insight about? What kind of tech position in credit derivatives is more promising if I want to do algorithm trader in some prop trading/hedge fund in future? Thanks.
 
Flow traders are the guys that provide liquidity to the market. They are the ones that flood Bloomberg terminals with bid/ask every single day looking for a chance to make penny. The business model is volume.

Prop traders do lot of correlation trades (disclosure: I used to work on a correlation prop desk at a major bank). These trades are almost always over the counter between two or more counter-parties to meet the risk appetite of each side. Sample of correlation trades is buy/sell different protection spectrum of the same credit index. Trade idea is based on statistical analysis, historical data correlation modeling, etc.
 
Flow traders are the guys that provide liquidity to the market. They are the ones that flood Bloomberg terminals with bid/ask every single day looking for a chance to make penny. The business model is volume.

Prop traders do lot of correlation trades (disclosure: I used to work on a correlation prop desk at a major bank). These trades are almost always over the counter between two or more counter-parties to meet the risk appetite of each side. Sample of correlation trades is buy/sell different protection spectrum of the same credit index. Trade idea is based on statistical analysis, historical data correlation modeling, etc.


Thanks. So the correlation trading is similar to hedging and flow trading is just like high frequency trading, right?
 

alain

Older and Wiser
No. In correlation trading you are trying to exploit relative value of 2 or more assets or instruments that have a perceived correlation. Flow trading is just that, flow, make markets and provide liquidity.

High Frequency is something totally different although you can use correlation or market making techniques to make money.
 

GoIllini

Market Crises= Gray Hair
Follow-up: Ended up taking the CS job. Made more sense to me.
Congrats. Definitely the safer choice and (IMHO) probably the wiser one. You and Ryan should be on the lookout from each other when you get there. It's interesting to see how things work in both fixed income and equities.
 
I know this is an old thread. But is it possible to get the contact of Ryan. I am now at CS and got an offer from PAG group from BR. I am at Credit Derivative desk under IT Analytics. Thinking about leaving.
 
I know this is an old thread. But is it possible to get the contact of Ryan. I am now at CS and got an offer from PAG group from BR. I am at Credit Derivative desk under IT Analytics. Thinking about leaving.
You can send him a conversation which will be forwarded to his email address. He will get it and reply if the email is still valid. Good luck.
 
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